The Butcher Detailed Strategy Guide (Heroic+Mythic Modes included)

Last updated on Dec 09, 2014 at 11:17 by Vlad 3 comments

Table of Contents

Boss Icon - The Butcher


This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive description of the encounter with The Butcher in Highmaul. It is targeted at anyone who desires to understand the fight mechanics.

This guide is updated for World of Warcraft WoD 6.1.2.

The Butcher is a boss in the Highmaul raid instance. The fight against The Butcher is a single-phase, single-target encounter, highly reminiscent of the Patchwerk encounter in Naxxramas. It will put a lot of strain on your tanks and healers, but it also requires accurate execution from your DPS players.


General Information


Normal, Heroic, and Mythic Difficulty

This main part of this guide covers both the Normal and Heroic versions of the encounter, as far as mechanics and general strategy is concerned. The only difference between these two modes is found in the tuning, with Heroic being more difficult.

When we speak of extreme situations (such as the difficulty of a soft enrage timer, or damage from a certain source being too high to survive), we mostly refer to Heroic mode.

In addition to this, we have a specific Mythic mode section, where we present all the differences between Normal/Heroic and Mythic, as well as the strategy to defeat the Mythic encounter.


Enrage Timer

The fight has a 5-minute hard enrage timer. There is no soft enrage mechanic, but The Butcher deals increased damage after he reaches 30% health, so this could eventually lead to deaths if your raid has to endure it for too long.


Summing Things Up

In this section, we will very briefly summarise what the players belonging to each of the three roles have to do during this fight. This is by no means meant to provide sufficient information to master the encounter, and it is only supposed to give you a very rough idea of what to watch out for.



  • The two tanks should stand within 5 yards of each other (preferably on top of each other).
  • Perform a regular tank switch to deal with the debuffs applied by The Cleaver Icon The Cleaver and The Tenderizer Icon The Tenderizer.
  • Make sure not to interfere with the positioning of the clumps of players who are soaking Cleave Icon Cleave.
  • In Mythic mode, tank The Butcher near to the edge of the fighting area, and not in the center.


  • Watch out for the increased damage on a tank that has been tanking the boss for a longer period of time. Also keep in mind that both tanks will take damage at the same time.
  • Watch out for additional damage after The Butcher reaches 30% health.
  • In Mythic mode, pay attention to the health of the ranged DPS players who are incercepting and detonating the Night-Twisted Cadavers.


  • DPS the boss.
  • In Mythic mode, intercept the Night-Twisted Cadavers at the outer edges of the fighting area, if you are assigned to do so.


  • Be mindful of your assignment in groups, with regard to Cleave Icon Cleave, especially if you are assigned to move in and out to alter the size of your group's clump. Tanks are excluded from this.
  • When the boss casts Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave, make sure not to stack together with any other players unless you are specifically assigned to do so.
  • In Mythic mode, make sure not to stand in the void zones left behind by the Night-Twisted Cadavers.

Overview of the Fight

The encounter against The Butcher is a single-phase fight. You will only face The Butcher, no other adds ever taking part in the fight. The main theme of the encounter is the fact that The Butcher regularly attacks and debuffs the largest group of players located in his melee range, and that after a certain number of debuff stacks, these players die. This means that throughout the fight, your raid will be using multiple groups of designated players to make sure that no one group will ever be killed.

Overall, The Butcher has a small number of abilities, and none of them are very complex.

We have released a video preview of the encounter against The Butcher, based on our (Heroic) Beta testing. You can watch this video to get a good idea of how the fight works, but keep in mind that some things can still change before the fight goes live.


A Note on Terminology

Throughout the guide, we will refer to clump to refer to a grouping of players that is susceptible to attract The Butcher's abilities. By contrast, we will use group to refer to a number of raid members organised by your raid leader to work together as a team (often to form a clump).



  • Heavy Handed Icon Heavy Handed passively causes all of The Butcher's auto attacks to trigger a second attack on the next closest target within 5 yards of the main target. If no such target exists, then the primary target is struck by this second attack as well.
  • The Cleaver Icon The Cleaver is an ability that The Butcher regularly uses to damage his tank, applying a stacking 30-second bleed effect on them also called The Cleaver. This ability requires a tank switch. The attack will not apply its bleed component if it is avoided.
  • The Tenderizer Icon The Tenderizer is another ability that The Butcher uses to damage his tank. It deals high Physical damage to the target, and applies a 40-second stacking debuff to them that causes them to take 50% increased damage from The Tenderizer. This attack always hits, and it requires a tank switch.
  • Cleave Icon Cleave is The Butcher's main ability, which he uses every 5 seconds throughout the fight. He targets the largest clump of players in melee range and strikes them for a massive amount Physical damage. The damage is split between all affected targets. All players hit by Cleave are debuffed with Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds.
    • Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds is a stacking bleed effect that lasts for 15 seconds. If Gushing Wounds reaches 5 stacks, the target instantly dies.
  • Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave is an ability that The Butcher uses when he reaches 100 Energy (this happens exactly every 60 seconds before The Butcher reaches 30% health, and every 30 seconds after that). The Butcher knocks all players away from him, and then charges to the largest clump of players (located away from The Butcher) a few seconds later, casting Cleave Icon Cleave on them.
  • Meat Hook Icon Meat Hook is an ability that The Butcher uses to pull his tank to him. We assume that this ability exists to prevent The Butcher from being kited, but it is not otherwise in use during the fight.
  • When The Butcher reaches 30% health, he goes into a Frenzy. He deals deals 10% more damage, and his attack speed is increased by 30%. During this time, he also regenerates Energy twice as fast (completing a full cycle in 30 seconds).


The strategy for the fight against The Butcher revolves heavily on your raid setting up two groups of players to handle Cleave Icon Cleave. Aside from this, your tanks will need to perform regular tank switches, and have a relatively precise position, and lastly, your raid will have to handle The Butcher's Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave. We treat each of these issues in their own sub-sections below, starting with the tasks of the tanks, because that is the first step your raid must perform correctly.


Tanking The Butcher

There are three constraints that your raid's tanks are subject to during this encounter.

  • The off-tank must stand within 5 yards of the tank currently tanking The Butcher. This needed to counter The Butcher's Heavy Handed Icon Heavy Handed ability.
  • The tanks will need to perform a tank switch whenever the number of stacks from The Cleaver Icon The Cleaver and The Tenderizer Icon The Tenderizer on the active tank are too high.
  • The tanks will have to make sure that they are not too close to any clump of players that is meant to be hit by Cleave Icon Cleave, so as to avoid the Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds debuff.

Giving more specific information is difficult. There is no ideal or highly recommended tanking position, though somewhere in the center of the arena is better because it gives your raid more space to work with.

Likewise, it is difficult to say at how many stacks of the debuffs your tanks should perform a switch. This will depend greatly on the damage that the boss does, the gear of the tanks, and the ability of the healers. Regarding these debuffs, it is worth mentioning that the tank can try to reduce the number of stacks applied by The Cleaver Icon The Cleaver by using active mitigation to attempt to avoid some applications. This will result in less overall damage, and can make things safer, but it cannot eliminate the need for a tank switch, since the debuff applied by The Tenderizer Icon The Tenderizer cannot in any way be avoided.

The tanks should be able to remain perfectly still for the entire duration of the fight (with The Butcher walking back to them after charging players following a Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave), so interfering with the positioning of the groups of players assigned to handle the Cleave Icon Cleave is not really something that the tanks need to be too concerned about, as long as they do not move around erratically.


Cleave and Bounding Cleave

As stated above, The Butcher will use Cleave Icon Cleave every 5 seconds throughout the fight, targeting the largest clump of players in his melee range. This applies a bleed effect called Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds to these players. The damage of Gushing Wounds was not very problematic on the Beta. The problem comes from the fact that when Gushing Wounds reaches 5 stacks, affected players are instantly killed. So, in order to deal with Cleave, you will have to form 2 groups in your raid. We call these groups Group A and Group B.


Split the Raid in 2 Groups

The 2 groups should have the same size, and they should be comprised of your raid's DPS players (ideally). In each group, one player should be designated to move in and out of the group to change its size as needed.

The 2 groups will spend the fight located on opposite sides of The Butcher, in his melee range (and away from the tanks). If we take the example of 2 groups of 6 players, here is what they should do during the encounter.

  1. Players 1-6 of Group A start the fight clumped together next to The Butcher, while players 1-5 of Group B do the same, with player 6 of Group B standing at range. This will cause Group A to be targeted by The Butcher's Cleave.
  2. When Group A reaches 4 stacks of Gushing Wounds, player 6 of Group A moves away from the clump, and player 6 of Group B moves into Group B's clump. This will force The Butcher to cleave Group B.
  3. When Group B reaches 4 stacks of Gushing Wounds, player 6 of Group B moves away from the clump, and player 6 of Group A moves back into Group A's clump. This will force The Butcher to cleave Group A again.
  4. Repeat this cycle until The Butcher dies.

Introducing Bounding Cleave in the Mix

When The Butcher knocks everyone back in preparation for Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave, Group B should make sure to stay stacked up where they are knocked back (so, away from The Butcher), while Group A can move back into The Butcher's melee range and continue to DPS. The Butcher will charge the largest clump of players at range (this should be Group B), Cleave them (applying a stack of Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds in the process), and then resume his usual rotation of Cleaving the largest group in his melee range. So, after being charged and cleaved, Group B will simply move back into the Butcher's melee range and the strategy will continue as outlined above.

It goes without saying that you should time the rotation of the groups in such a way that Group B does not have 4 stacks of Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds when Bounding Cleave happens. Otherwise, all the players in the group will get a 5th stack of Gushing Wounds and die.


Group Composition

Regarding the composition of the two groups, we recommend that Group A should contain all the melee DPS players in your raid as well as one ranged DPS player (who will move in and out when needed), while group B should be comprised exclusively of ranged DPS players. If you have more melee DPS players than ranged ones, place any additional melee DPS players in Group B. If you have fewer melee DPS players than ranged players, fill the rest of group A with ranged DPS players. Doing so ensures that your melee DPS can run up to the boss as soon as they are knocked back for Bounding Cleave and can continue to deal damage.


Alternate Bounding Cleave Strategy

Another option for handling Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave is to use a third group of players, whose only purpose is to quickly stack up when Bounding Cleave happens, in order to attract The Butcher to them. Obviously, this requires that none of these players be part of the other two groups, and that no other raid members accidentally form a larger clump (thus attracting The Butcher to that group instead).



When The Butcher reaches 30% health, he goes into a frenzy and deals slightly more damage with his attacks. In addition to this, however, he also attacks 30% faster and gains Energy 50% faster.

Despite the fact that The Butcher casts Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave every 30 seconds instead of every 60 seconds at this time, the strategy remains unchanged. Your raid will simply be more prone to dying, and you will need to use every ability and cooldown in your arsenal to finish off the boss before your raid dies (and before the hard enrage timer is triggered).

Note also that tank damage is greatly increased at this time.


When to Use Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp

We recommend using Heroism Icon Heroism/Bloodlust Icon Bloodlust/Time Warp Icon Time Warp when The Butcher reaches 30% health. At this time, he goes into his Frenzy, dealing more damage, attacking faster, and gaining Energy at a higher rate, all of which makes it more difficult to survive.


Mythic Mode

The Mythic mode of The Butcher encounter is a brutal gear check that will test your raid's DPS above all else. There is a single new mechanic in the encounter, meaning that overall the strategy remains very similar to the Normal/Heroic mode strategy.


Differences From Normal/Heroic Mode

As with all Mythic modes, the boss deals more damage with all his abilities and has more health. Aside from this, there is one new mechanic present in the encounter.

Throughout the fight, adds called Night-Twisted Cadavers will enter the fighting area. These adds always enter from the opposite side of where The Butcher is. They have no health pools, they cannot be damaged, and they walk slowly towards the boss. When they come in contact with the boss or with a player, they explode, and at this time two things happen.

  • They cast Paleobomb Icon Paleobomb, which deals a very high amount of Physical damage in an 8-yard radius (this damage ignores armor).
  • They leave behind a void zone called Pale Vitriol Icon Pale Vitriol. Any raid members who enter the void zone take a high amount of Shadow damage every second, and they are also debuffed to take 100% more damage from The Butcher's Cleave Icon Cleave. These players also have their movement speed reduced by 30%.

The number of Night-Twisted Cadavers that enter the fight increases as the encounter progresses, with their numbers growing each time The Butcher casts Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave.

On the Beta, it was the case that on Mythic, players would instantly die when reaching 4 stacks of Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds, instead of 5, but this is no longer present in the dungeon journal. We will update the guide when we know more.



The biggest change to the strategy for this fight is that your raid will have to assign several ranged DPS players (ideally Hunters and Mages) to intercept the Night-Twisted Cadavers as they enter the fight, detonating them around the edges of the fighting area. A few things should be kept in mind regarding this task.

  • As the Pale Vitriol Icon Pale Vitriol void zones are permanent, your raid will have to make sure that the Night-Twisted Cadavers explode around the outside of the room, where they will not inconvenience the raid's positioning.
  • To conserve space, raid members should try to have the Night-Twisted Cadavers explode in such a way that the resulting void zones overlap slightly, or at the very least are right next to each other.
  • The Butcher should not be tanked in the center of the room. Tanking him to one side ensures that the Cadavers will enter the fight from the opposite side, giving the raid more time and space to intercept them before they reach the boss.
  • The players who intercept the Night-Twisted Cadavers should not be part of any Cleave Icon Cleave-soaking groups, and players in the Cleave-soaking groups should make sure not to enter the Pale Vitriol void zones.

The damage done by Paleobomb Icon Paleobomb is high, but it is not fatal. As long as healers are making sure to keep the soakers topped off, these players should not be in any danger of dying.

If it is true that players can only take 4 stacks of Gushing Wounds Icon Gushing Wounds before dying, then your raid will also need to adjust the group set-up to include 3 groups instead of only 2, in order for the debuff to have time to drop off (and especially to be able to deal with Bounding Cleave Icon Bounding Cleave).

Aside from this, nothing changes in the execution of the fight, but it becomes even more of a DPS race.


Learning the Fight

Without a doubt, the most challenging aspect of this fight is making sure your raid is properly set up for dealing with The Butcher's Cleave Icon Cleave. You should make sure to have the best possible group assignments for this task, and depending on how your attempts go, you should try to tweak these groups to improve performance (like increasing the number of players in each group if the damage is too high to heal).

Aside from this, the fight will just test your raid's gear level, especially as far as DPS is concerned, with the enrage timer possibly being very punishing.



In this section, you will find the loot table for The Butcher. The section is divided in 3 subsections: armor, weapons, and the rest (neck, back, finger, and trinket items).



Item Name Armor Slot Secondary Stats
Slaughterhouse Spaulders Icon Slaughterhouse Spaulders (Heroic, Mythic) Cloth Shoulders
  • Mastery
  • Multistrike
Sterilized Handwraps Icon Sterilized Handwraps — LFR Cloth Hands
  • Haste
  • Versatility
Meatmonger's Gory Grips Icon Meatmonger's Gory Grips (Heroic, Mythic) Cloth Hands
  • Critical Strike
  • Multistrike
Spine-Ripper Bracers Icon Spine-Ripper Bracers — LFR Leather Wrists
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste
Bracers of Spare Skin Icon Bracers of Spare Skin (Heroic, Mythic) Leather Wrists
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste
Belt of Bloody Guts Icon Belt of Bloody Guts (Heroic, Mythic) Leather Waist
  • Critical Strike
  • Mastery
Hood of Dispassionate Execution Icon Hood of Dispassionate Execution (Heroic, Mythic) Mail Head
  • Haste
  • Mastery
Bonebreaker Boots Icon Bonebreaker Boots — LFR Mail Feet
  • Haste
  • Mastery
Gauntlets of the Heavy Hand Icon Gauntlets of the Heavy Hand (Heroic, Mythic) Plate Hands
  • Critical Strike
  • Versatility
Ogre-Eater Treads Icon Ogre-Eater Treads — LFR Plate Feet
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste
Entrail Squishers Icon Entrail Squishers (Heroic, Mythic) Plate Feet
  • Haste
  • Mastery


Item Name Type Main Stats Secondary Stats
Butcher's Terrible Tenderizer Icon Butcher's Terrible Tenderizer (Heroic, Mythic) 1H Mace Intellect
  • Mastery
  • Versatility
Butcher's Cruel Chopper Icon Butcher's Cruel Chopper — LFR 1H Axe Strength
  • Critical Strike
  • Haste
Butcher's Bloody Cleaver Icon Butcher's Bloody Cleaver (Heroic, Mythic) 1H Axe Strength
  • Critical Strike
  • Mastery

Amulets, Cloaks, Rings, and Trinkets

Item Name Type Main Stats Secondary Stats
Cloak of Frenzied Rage Icon Cloak of Frenzied Rage (Heroic, Mythic) Cloak
  • Agility
  • Strength
  • Critical Strike
  • Armor
Fleshhook Cloak Icon Fleshhook Cloak — LFR Cloak Strength
  • Multistrike
  • Haste
Bloodstone Seal Icon Bloodstone Seal — LFR Ring Intellect
  • Spirit
  • Haste
Flenser's Hookring Icon Flenser's Hookring (Heroic, Mythic) Ring Agility
  • Haste
  • Mastery
Gutwrench Ring Icon Gutwrench Ring (Heroic, Mythic) Ring
  • Agility
  • Strength
  • Armor
  • Haste
Emblem of Gushing Wounds Icon Emblem of Gushing Wounds — LFR Trinket Intellect Haste
Scales of Doom Icon Scales of Doom (Heroic, Mythic) Trinket Agility Multistrike on proc

Concluding Remarks

This concludes our raid guide for The Butcher. We hope you have found it helpful. Please do not hesitate to post any feedback you may have on our forums.



  • 09 Dec. 2014: Added Mythic mode strategy.
  • 03 Dec. 2014: Improved Cleave + Bounding Cleave explanations.
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